CD Review: Vicious Rumors – Live You to Death 2: American Punishment

CD Review: Vicious Rumors – Live You to Death 2: American Punishment
Steamhammer SPV
All Access Rating: A-
Vicious Rumors - Live You to Death 2:
American Punishment

Still chasing his speed/power-metal muse all these decades later, Geoff Thorpe has kept Vicious Rumors going through thick and thin – the "thin" part being singer Carl Albert's death in 1995 and Thorpe's own battle with carpal tunnel syndrome, and the "thick" being their salad days of the late 1980s and early '90s, when the band, founded in 1979, was on Atlantic Records back when being on a major label meant something.

Undergoing a renaissance of sorts, having released the critically acclaimed Electric Punishment in 2013, Vicious Rumors is upping the ante with a searing new concert album for Steamhammer SPV, Live You to Death 2: American Punishment. Gripping and relentless, with the high-pitched wail of new singer Nick Holleman swooping and diving in and around stampeding double-kick drums, tenacious bass lines and serrated, stinging guitars, the energetic romp Live You to Death 2: American Punishment finds Vicious Rumors thrashing as hard as ever, getting into gritty street brawls with "Towns on Fire" and "Lady Took a Chance," riding roughshod on a frenzied and melodic "Don't Wait for Me" and defiantly pounding away at the Anthrax-like declaration "I Am the Gun," with its ever-shifting tempos and tightly wound riffage that's at once heavy and thick and later lightning fast and razor sharp. As for "Minute to Kill" and "You Only Live Twice," they are electrifying and single-minded in their approach, always on the attack, speeding and raging until their dying breath.

Recorded with startling clarity and richness, Live You to Death 2: American Punishment documents where Vicious Rumors is at right now and where it's been, the set list throwing exciting new material in with wicked old favorites like the surging anthem "Soldiers of the Night." Comparisons to Iron Maiden and Metal Church have always been spot-on, but Thorpe is, and presumably will be until death, his own man, and with Live You to Death 2: American Punishment this version of Vicious Rumors carves out its own identity.
– Peter Lindblad

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